Posts

Showing posts from June, 2013

Observing time on the Hubble Space Telescope

Image
Reviewing grants and postdoctoral researchers have completely absorbed the last week, and will similarly consume the week to come, so a quick post today, just posting a news article from our School of Physics webpage.

Sydney University astronomers granted observing time on the Hubble Space Telescope

By Tom Gordon
17 June 2013

Two astronomers, Professors Geraint Lewis and Joss Bland-Hawthorn, from the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, located in the School of Physics, have been awarded observing time on one of the world's premier observing facilities, the Hubble Space Telescope. Obtaining observations with this unparalleled telescope is extremely competitive, and this award has demonstrated that their research is world-leading.

As part of an international team, Professor Lewis has secured 28 Primary Spacecraft Orbits and 28 parallel spacecraft orbits in Cycle 21 of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) program due to begin in October this year. In addition, Professor Bland-Hawthorn has been …

The Arbitrarily Large Monty Hall Problem

Image
I've just fallen off a plane from the UK, and am a little tired, but here's some interesting mathematics that kept me busy `on the road'.
I've loved the Monty Hall problem since I first heard about it. It is not a difficult problem, but the outcome can seem quite counter intuitive. Before I look at the problem in more detail (more detail than I should?) you should have a look at this little video as a refresher.

So, let's try and represent all we've seen in the movie in this as a picture. 

At the top is the initial situation, with the car, C, and two goats, G, behind the doors. The next level down is what we end up with, either with you choosing the car and one goat door open (with a probability of 1/3), or choosing a goat and a goat door revealed (with a probability of 2/3).
Looking at this , it's clear that if you choose to stick with your original choice of doors, you will win the car with a probability of 1/3 and will win the goat with a probability of…

At the Edge of the Empire

Image
I'm traveling (hence the lack of recent posts) and am in Blighty for two weeks. I'm a distinguished visitor at the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute at the University of Central Lancashire in the much prettier than I expected city of Preston. I'll write more about that in a little while (it's been a busy trip, with a few talks etc, and more to come).

However, I find myself in South Wales for the weekend visiting family, sitting at the bottom of the Brecon Beacons National Park in the little village of Coelbren. It's gloriously sunny at the moment, but in winter, this is a reasonably harsh place to be.
Anyway, I went for a run this morning and took this photo. In many ways, it looks relatively unremarkable, but this view almost 2000 years ago would be very interesting. Why? Here's the view from googlemaps, with my location marked with the circles. I was looking towards the bottom centre of the map, but notice how square the field is next to the circle is; it's ed…